(Photo credit: Rittec)

Food grade PET

PET manufacturer Equipolymers moves closer to circular economy solutions with new Rittec technology

1:31 min rPET & PET FlakesFood grade PET
Lüneburg, Germany

  • Goal to meet growing demand for food-grade rPET -
  • Significantly increase recycling content in PET pellets for food contact
  • Further replacement of fossil raw materials
  • Rittec revolPET technology provides basis for recycled raw materials for virgin-grade PET

PET manufacturer Equipolymers and technology Start-up Rittec Umwelttechnik announced their cooperation in Schkopau. By the development and implementation of Rittec’s revolPET process into Equipolymers’ PET manufacturing plant the recycling content of food contact PET is targeted to be increased significantly.

Mechanical PET recycling has been established in the European market for many years. But possible input materials for mechanical recycling processes are limited. For example, multilayer materials, widely used in the packaging sector or heavily colored PET containers are very difficult to recycle. In addition, while PET practically is unlimitedly and 100% recyclable, multiple mechanical recycling loops can reduce the optical properties of the recycled PET.

Due to the insufficient availability of high quality post-consumer PET, increased recycling volumes are difficult to achieve with existing technologies. The proportion of recycled PET, for example in Germany is currently only around 26 percent on average (1).

With revolPET, Rittec provides a technology solution to overcome these boundaries. The use of this new chemical recycling solution, commonly defined as back-to-monomer process, makes it possible to reprocess PET plastics into virgin grade quality. The continuous recycling process can be operated with high throughput rates.

Substitution of virgin monomers within feasible reach

Lab-scale polymerization tests have shown promising results. "Verified by the laboratory results the replacement of virgin monomers is within feasible reach for us", says development manager Olaf Hempel from Equipolymers. That is why the partners are aiming for further cooperation to achieve their goals.

"Our revolPET technology can make an enormous contribution to the circular plastics economy", comments Carsten Eichert, Rittec founder and managing director. "We want to prove that our basic PET components produced from post-consumer waste meet food contact standards." And he adds, " We are excited about the partnership with Equipolymers. It allows us to demonstrate the marketability of monomers from our process."


IFEU Study "Use and Recycling of PET in Germany", A short study commissioned by NABU - Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany), Heidelberg, Oktober 2017

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